There has been a lot research lately into a type of materials known as perovskites which show great promise for advancements in LED’s and solar cells. The excitement around Perovskites in solar cell design is because they show great potential to convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently and less expensively than today’s silicon-based semiconductors
A new study publisher in the journal Science by University of Washington and University of Oxford researchers demonstrates that perovskite materials, generally believed to be uniform in composition, actually contain flaws that can be engineered to improve solar cell material and allow us to manufacture a more efficient cell.
Perovskite solar cells have so far have achieved efficiency levels of roughly 20 percent, compared to about 25 percent for silicon-based solar cells.
“Perovskites are the fastest-growing class of photovoltaic material over the past four years,” said lead author Dane deQuilettes, a UW doctoral student working with David Ginger, professor of chemistry and associate director of the UW Clean Energy Institute.
In that short amount of time, the ability of these materials to convert sunlight directly into electricity is approaching that of today’s silicon-based solar cells, rivaling technology that took 50 years to develop. But we also suspect there is room for improvement.
According to the report the research team used a technique used in biology called confocal optical microscopy and applied it to semiconductor technology to see if they could flaws in the perovskite, which show up as dark areas. Using fluorescent images correlated with electron microscopy images allows researchers to find poorly performing regions of the material at intersections of the crystals.
They discovered that they could “turn on” some of the dark areas by using a simple chemical treatment.
To read the entire report click here
To learn more about this research, we have included the video below.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.